A “very special thing” happened to Nancy Minor recently. The Georgia-area real estate agent said in a column in the PeachTree Corners Patch that her Keller Williams Realty office went paperless. In place of hard copies, the office adopted a document management solution, enabling them to work with easy-to-store and readily accessible electronic files.
Minor said it was only a short 25 years ago when the business was a far cry from how it is today. Before, the office had to write offers out to a buyer on paper, requiring the buyer come into the real estate office to have it written.
At this point, she explained, the agent would have to get in his or her car with hard copies of the offer and drive to the house, review the changes by manually making marks and edits, and then go back to the office to create the final amendments. It can then take weeks for the final agreement to be completed, as multiple people may need to see copies of the document.
With an ECM program, the process is simplified and streamlined in a way previously unimaginable. Multiple users can make edits on electronic documents with safe authorization codes. In many instances, companies no longer need to print documents or waste gas mileage and time meeting with clients to revise hard files, it is all done electronically. The process is much simpler now, and Minor said things have come a long way from the days of paper, fax machines and snail mail.
“We fast forward to computers, iPads, smartphones, efax and today we go paperless,” Minor said. “The structured environment of the paperless office is a perfect match for today’s marketplace. We are able to complete listings, make offers and complete a transaction without any party to the contract introducing a paper document into the transaction.”
While paper is not completely obsolete, she said all documents are converted to an electronic format when they come in, and office gatekeepers require electronic documents from the agents. Using the technology available today has added benefits, so choosing an ECM system with mobile capability with add an extra competitive boost and improved customer service, enabling agents to access housing information and contracts remotely.
Many other industries are turning to electronic document management software to organize and safeguard their information, improve business productivity and cut costs. The costs associated with using traditional data management include paying for security systems, storage containers and space. And, most importantly, employees’ time. These can be reduced or even eliminated entirely.
Using a document management solution makes data retrieval easier and more efficient, allowing employees to spend their time on more pressing tasks. The increased efficiency may be one of the most appealing aspects of the technology, as a number of companies continue to look for ways to trim costs and stay afloat in the struggling economy.